The Washington Post
Another day, and yet another story about the Romney campaign’s efforts to get their man to open up more to voters. This time, it’s Jason Horowitz’s turn to tackle the subject, in the Washington Post Style section, and he does as good a job of it as anyone, if you ask me, because he correctly diagnoses the problem as one of “trying too hard.” And like previous examples of the “what’s up with Mitt” genre, the piece includes examples of anecdotes that Romney’s supporters ardently believe that the candidate would do well to invoke more often on the trail.
I've generally avoided commenting on the dispatches of the Washington Post's right-leaning political blogger, Jennifer Rubin, whose posts have for months now been so startlingly adulatory to the Romney campaign that they have drawn criticism not only from the left but from fellow conservatives as well. I've left it to others to handle the full-time task of pointing out just how Pravda-esque this corner of the Post's Website has become.
In the magazine's current issue, I reported on an effort in the earliest stages among some state treasurers to use the leverage of their states' pension funds to encourage the private equity and hedge fund executives who manage much of the funds' money to be more open about their campaign contributions. There is already an equivalent effort underway to use shareholder rights to get publicly held corporations to disclose more of their political spending.
Another day, another report on the debates within Team Romney about how to go about humanizing the candidate. Philip Rucker writes in the Washington Post about the campaign's deliberations over when and how to make better use of Mitt's "anecdotes": By now, many voters have heard that Mitt Romney once put the family dog, Seamus, in a crate and strapped him to the roof of a station wagon.
It became clear this week that Newt Gingrich's ego trip campaign, which brought him one glorious night in South Carolina, has come at the cost of losing a very lucrative racket: the for-profit health care think tank he presided over this past decade has filed for bankruptcy. From the Washington Post: The Center for Health Transformation had promoted private-sector solutions to America’s skyrocketing health-care costs. It also became a source of significant cash for Gingrich and his wife, Callista.
Venturing into the health care arena when your magazine has Jonathan Cohn to cover the subject is like offering to be a fry cook at Jean Georges.
In 2009, Ralph Nader published a fantasia titled Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, in which he imagined a group of maverick billionaires banding together to defeat corporate power in America. Declaring themselves “the Meliorists,” these enlightened oligarchs force Walmart to unionize, elect Warren Beatty governor of California, establish single-payer health insurance, raise the minimum wage to a livable salary, and in general breathe life back into liberalism. In 2012, something like Nader’s utopian scenario has begun to take shape, but with a radically different ideology.
When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act two years ago, the law's proponents (including me) were confident of two things: That it would become more popular with time and that it would make our health care system more humane and efficient. History has not been kind to the first prediction. Most of the law’s components command broad support: Overwhelming majorities still support the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions, for example. But overall the Affordable Care Act is unpopular.
Over at The Washington Post, Jonathan Bernstein argues that the Jim Yong Kim nomination for World Bank president is (for liberals at least) a pleasant byproduct of having a Democratic president: It’s very difficult for me to imagine John McCain, had he won the presidency — or a President Mitt Romney, for that matter — reaching out beyond the usual bankers and recycled government officials to choose someone like Kim. But it’s not at all hard to picture Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Chris Dodd picking him. Presidents don’t make these types of picks on their own.
On Sunday, The Washington Post published a long, blow-by-blow of last summer’s negotiations between Barack Obama and John Boehner over a $4 trillion deficit deal. The take-away from the piece is that Obama had a chance at a deal involving $800 billion in tax increases and trillions in spending cuts (including cuts to sacred programs like Medicare and Social Security), but that he got cold feet and backed away.